With FRY fest approaching Friday in Coralville, I’m sharing a few of my favorite Hayden Fry stories from his time as Iowa’s football coach.
I wasn’t at the Metrodome in Minneapolis for the 1982 Iowa-Minnesota game, and I was barely started in this business. But oh, how I’d have loved to seen and heard this:
Apparently, Gophers Coach Joe Salem had openly shown contempt for Iowa. It had been reported that Salem dressed in similar bib overalls at practices leading up to the Iowa game.
Minnesota had a four-game winning streak over the Hawkeyes entering the game, and was 3-0 against Fry. But the Hawkeyes won, 21-16, and then Fry had a postgame surprise. He changed out of his typical game attire of a black jacket and white pants, and emerged for interviews wearing a red flannel shirt, a white cowboy hat trimmed with a red bandana, and blue bib overalls of his own.
“All you great Minnesota writers, radio people and TV,” Fry said, “I didn’t want you to look like liars, so I’ve got my clod clothes on.”
“We’re taking Floyd (of Rosedale) home where he belongs — Soooo-ey!!!”
Can you imagine a coach pulling an antic like that today, with the saturation coverage of everything and anything that’s provocative? I often wonder how Fry would have fared in the YouTube/New Media era. It might have made him crazy. Or it might have made him a national star.
Salem’s team went 3-8 that season, 1-10 the following year, and he was dismissed. Fry stayed on at Iowa until he retired following the 1998 season.
Overalls seemed to stick out in Fry’s mind. I’ve heard him tell this story 10 times if I’ve heard it once:
“I had a special guy about 20 rows up behind my (Kinnick Stadium) bench, about 6′ 4″, 300 pounds, bib overalls, straw hat, and he’d cup his hands around his mouth and yell ‘Fry, you dummy!’ In all probability, he’s never had a jock strap on in his life.”